Tolon: The DANIDA Alumni Network has held a forum with farmers in the Tolon District of the Northern Region to share knowledge on sustainable agricultural practices.
The forum was to discuss ideas and opportunities and formalise what is known as the Lead Farmer Concept, where farmers have been trained to take up advisory roles aimed at bridging the extension officer-to-farmer ratio gap in the area.
It formed part of the Ghana Agricultural Innovation Network (GAIN), a project being undertaken by a four-member group of the DANIDA Alumni Network, under a grant by the DANIDA Fellowship Centre.
The GAIN project, which has been running for a year, seeks to present innovative concepts to transfer knowledge in the smallholder farming systems in the Northern, Savannah and North East regions.
Mr Eugene Dela Setsoafia, a Member of the DANIDA Alumni Network, who led the forum, said the concept was informed by the Alumni members’ observation, which showed that there were challenges in the northern smallholder farming
He said the initiative was to train farmers as leaders, who were capable of transferring knowledge to other farmers to cover up the lapses that resulted from lack of agriculture extension services.
Mr Setsoafia said experienced and knowledgeable farmers, who had some social capital, were in a better position to advice their peers to adopt this knowledge.
Participating farmers at the forum shared some perceived challenges they might encounter practicalising the concept of lead farmers, notable among them being the issue of logistics.
He said despite the challenges that the lead farmer concept could face it presented great opportunities for innovation.
Madam Garcia Amelle Honvoh, a Representative of the Denmark Embassy, Accra, who joined the forum virtually, said DANIDA invested in diverse fields, including Agriculture, by offering grants to people who had potentials of making significant impact in the industry.
He lauded the DANIDA Alumni Network for their involvement in the GAIN project and exp
ressed his hope for insightful outcomes.
Mr Bassit Abdul Zakari, the Tolon District Director, Department of Agriculture, lauded the lead farmer concept saying it had the potential to bridge the persisting agriculture extension services gap in the district.
He noted that the extension service officer to farmer ratio was 1:3000 as against the recommended ratio of 1:500.
Mr Zakari said the beneficiary lead farmers trained for the project were from various communities in the district, which meant that their acquired knowledge with on new technologies and sustainable farming practices would be shared effectively with most farmers in the area.
Source: Ghana News Agency